Google Retires Web Light Website Transcoding

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Google announced they are retiring the seven years of age Web Light service that optimized websites for devices on sluggish mobile phones and mobile connections.

The official Google developer page paperwork for Web Light Google and the associated user agent (googleweblight) are both retired.

Google Web Light

Presented in 2015, the function of the Web Light service was to make more of the web accessible to users in nations with sluggish mobile connections and gadgets.

The service worked by optimizing webpages so that downloading them utilized 80% less information, resulting in a four-fold increase in speed over the slower 2G mobile networks.

According to Google the service in a 50% boost in traffic to web pages.

Web Light formerly worked on Chrome and Android web browsers and just when Google detected a slow connection. The performance did not set off for desktop devices or tablets, only for mobile devices on slow connections.

Google Analytics still worked in the Web Light optimized pages.

In terms of ad serving, Web Light enhanced pages supported Sovrn, Zedo, AdSense, and Google Publisher Tags.

So in theory Web Light must not have impacted ad income but rather increased them given that transcoded webpages got as much as 50% more traffic at the time.

The service was first introduced in Indonesia and then to India.

The now erased paperwork explained the functionality of Web Light:

“Google shows faster, lighter pages to people browsing on sluggish mobile customers.

To do this, we transcode (convert) websites on the fly into a variation enhanced for slow clients, so that these pages fill faster while conserving data.

This technology is called Web Light.

Web Light pages maintain a majority of the appropriate content and offer a link for users to see the initial page. “

Web Light No Longer Required

7 years later, the availability of economical however powerful mobile devices and an improvement in mobile connection speeds made the requirement of the service no longer necessary.

According to Statista, 99% of mobile information use in India during 2021 happened over 4G gadgets.

In 2015 there were just 47 million gadgets that were 4G capable compared to 650 million in 2021.

The Google developer documents for Web Light was removed and a note was added to Google’s User Agent documents to communicate that the Web Light user representative is retired.

Google’s statement mentioned:

“Removed the Web Light documents and retired the Web Light user representative.

We introduced Web Light to enable us to serve much faster, lighter pages to individuals searching on entry-level devices.

While this function has actually worked as intended and made it possible for broader access to the richness of the web, increased price of more powerful smart devices has reduced the requirement for such functionality.

We stay committed to progressing and improving the Search experience to fulfill the altering requirements of our users.”

Featured image by Best SMM Panel/Asier Romero